Today at church our pastor shared a story from the Tonga tribe that I thought you might like:
One day a great Tonga hunter was out in the bush and he brought down an enormous elephant. It was so massive that it would surely provide much meat for many, many days. The man ran toward the village until he found many of his relatives and friends to come with him to retrieve the elephant. All the men returned with him to the elephant and exclaimed with great joy when they saw his kill. They hooted and hollered and then began organizing themselves to lift the great elephant and bring it back to the village.
As they all lifted together, they began to sing a song, as was their custom. They began singing, "We have killed an elephant, and we will share it all together amongst ourselves." The men managed to lift the elephant and began carrying it toward home, singing all the while. After a ways, however, one of the men noticed something about the hunter who had brought down the elephant and this man said, "Tu swi" to the others which means "Let's listen carefully." All the men stopped singing, except for that lone hunter who continued singing, "I have killed an elephant, and I will share it all together amongst ourselves."
All the relatives and friends turned to the hunter and said, "Friend, you are singing your own song. If it is you that has killed this elephant alone; then it is you who can carry him home." And they all left him there to enjoy his kill by himself.
Tu swi... this story is a beautiful story that captures the rhythm of African life, I think, in so many ways. Our pastor was preaching about making disciples and sharing the gospel and he used this story to illustrate how within the body of Christ we must work together to share the gospel and do ministry. We cannot become full of ourselves thinking we are each something so very special on our own.
For all my dear American friends, please don't be offended when I say that often I think we are like that hunter. We always think credit belongs where credit is due. We are so easily offended if we are not thanked enough or honored enough for our gifts. It is unfortunate to see the Western influence here in Zambia causing many urban Zambians to have this look-out-for-number-one kind of attitude. Let the Church Tu swi, and always stand apart as holy and humble, working together in unity for the glory of Jesus Christ!